Trajectories is a series of podcasts offering in-depth conversations with Montreal artists. Each episode paints the portrait of a unique art practice. Produced with the financial support of the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the series engages in a dialogue with the Museum’s collection, placing emphasis on the formal and conceptual processes that shape current approaches in artist communities.
Episode 1 - Mathieu Lacroix
During this conversation, Mathieu Lacroix reflects upon his artistic practice, which is always related to the very process of creating, whether through the staging of his work or the mise en abyme—infinite reproduction—of materials. Lacroix speaks about the social and political dimensions of working in art, as well as the capitalist codes enfolding it. The artist also discusses his involvement in a number of artists’ collectives and the role of music in his practice.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Mathieu Lacroix discusses in this episode.
Mathieu Lacroix lives and works in Montreal. In 2006, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Since 2003, Lacroix has shown his work in many group exhibitions at various galleries and artist-run centres, as well as taken part in a number of Quebec cultural events. Recently, his work has been on view at McBride Contemporain and Centre Clark (both shows in Montreal in 2021) and in Toronto at the 2018 7a11d* International Festival of Performance Art. The artist has just lately been awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant for his project La Variante. Mathieu Lacroix has been an active member of the art collective Pique-Nique since 2003 and was a contributor to the Jean Couteau project from 2018 to 2021. He is represented by the gallery McBride Contemporain.
Episode 2 - My-Van Dam
During this episode, artist My-Van Dam talks to us about her practice and its concern with memory, intergenerational trauma, family and grief. She speaks about the importance of sculpture and materials, which allow her to convey the psychological states she addresses in that practice.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection My-Van Dam discusses in this episode.
My-Van Dam is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Media Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). In her artistic practice, Dam probes the transmission of intergenerational trauma, memory, vulnerability, resilience and the healing process. She is particularly interested in the effects of traumatic events on our collective and individual memories and in the impact of trauma on our physical and psychological health, relationships and identity. Dam’s work has been shown at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Place des Arts, MAADI (Musée d’art Actuel/Département des invisibles), Rad Hourani Foundation, the Cuisine ta ville Festival, and ArtHelix in New York.
Episode 3 - Rita Adib
My conversation with artist Rita Adib deals with the place feminism, power games and anger have in her work. Adib also shares her thoughts on the feeling of belonging in respect to the experience of migration.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Rita Adib discusses in this episode.
Rita is a pluridisciplinary artist and architect based between Canada and Germany. She was born and raised in Damascus, Syria, where she earned a bachelor in architecture, and later moved to Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal to earn a BFA with a major in sculpture from Concordia University. Her practice, whether involving interactive sculptures, public interventions, figurative paintings and drawings or performative actions, is deeply rooted in social and political activism. Adib questions the body in relation to borders, oppression and displacement, focusing on intersectional racial- and gender-based discrimination from the perspective of a non-conforming feminist Arab woman. She has participated in residencies in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, Belfast and Berlin, and her work has been shown internationally in public and private spaces around Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, Beirut and, in the U.K., Manchester, Portsmouth and Leicester.
Episode 4 - Juan Ortiz-Apuy
In this episode, Juan Ortiz Apuy describes his artistic practice, which is concerned with the relationships people have with materiality, the unknowability of the lives of objects and the way in which advertising and design give them powers that make us desire them. Ortiz Apuy also speaks to us about his commitment to teaching.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Juan Ortiz-Apuy discusses in this episode.
Juan Ortiz-Apuy is a Canadian-Costa Rican artist who has been living and working in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal since 2003. Ortiz-Apuy has a BFA from Concordia University (2008), a post-graduate diploma from The Glasgow School of Art (2009), and an MFA from NSCAD University (2011).
His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally in venues such as Les Abattoirs Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Toulouse, France), IKEA Museum (Älmhult, Sweden), Pamflett (Bergen, Norway), University of Wyoming Visual Art Gallery (Laramie, Wyoming), Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art (Montreal), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, New Brunswick), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa), MOMENTA Biennale de l’image (Montreal), Manif d'art 7 – The Quebec City Biennial, TRUCK Contemporary Art (Calgary), Museum London (London, Ontario), Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography (Toronto), VOX Centre de l’image contemporaine (Montreal), and the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie, Ontario). He has been awarded numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and his work has been reviewed in various publications, including Canadian Art, Momus, esse arts + opinions, Montreal Gazette, Le Devoir and Public Parking.
Ortiz-Apuy has completed several artist-in-residence programs, most notably at the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, Vermont), Frans Masereel Centrum (Kasterlee, Belgium) and Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center (Skælskør, Denmark). Upcoming solo exhibitions of his work are to be held at the Foreman Art Gallery in Sherbrooke and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg. Ortiz-Apuy is an assistant professor in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University.
Episode 5 - Abbas Akhavan
Abbas Akhavan tells us about his practice and how important the specificity of the spaces in which he works is. Through his installations, Akhavan deals with topics and widely distributed images often relating to the wars, such as those in Iraq and Syria, that up until now have characterized the twenty-first century. He uses images of monuments, ruins and war trophies to consider the way in which such images are charged with meaning, as well as how they influence our perceptions. His installations and the materials he favours often reflect the vocabularies of theatre and film production, architectural follies and green screens, becoming portals to the worlds they replicate.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Abbas Akhavan discusses in this episode.
The work of Abbas Akhavan (born in Tehran, Iran; lives/works in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal) ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his artistic investigations has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of study in his practice. More recent works have wandered into spaces and species just outside the home—the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.
Episode 6 - Miles Greenberg
Miles Greenberg talks to us about his durational performance practice, which primarily uses his own body as raw material. The artist also speaks about the influence sculpture has had on his live installations, and the outstanding figures, including Marina Abramović, Édouard Locke and Robert Wilson, that have mentored or taught him.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Miles Greenberg discusses in this episode.
Miles Greenberg (born in Montreal in 1997) is a New York-based performance artist and sculptor. His work consists of large-scale, sensorially immersive and often site-specific environments revolving around the physical body in space. These installations are activated with often extremely demanding durational performances that treat the body as a sculptural material. The performances are then captured in real time before an audience to generate later video works and sculptures. At age seventeen, Greenberg abandoned formal education, throwing himself into four years of independent research on movement and architecture, which spanned a number of residencies in Paris, Beijing and New York. He has worked under the mentorship of Édouard Lock, Robert Wilson and Marina Abramović. The result of a rigorous, ritualistic methodology, Greenberg’s work follows self-contained, non-linear systems of logic that are best understood in relation to one another.
Episode 7 - Kamissa Ma Koïta
This conversation with artist Kamissa Ma Koïta examines the importance of our relationship with the environment and of traditional and Indigenous cultures in ensuring its future. They outline the path their practice of performance has taken, the institutional critique that informs it and how their performances address the systemic racism and “whiteness” in the art world and society as a whole.
See the work from the MMFA’s collection Kamissa Ma Koïta discusses in this episode.
Kamissa Ma Koïta is a activist and Afro-descendant of Malian background. Born in Quebec City, they grew up in Montreal and completed a bachelor’s degree in Visual and Media Arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2015; they are involved in various artist-run centres in Montreal. Questioning the vehicles of social dominance from a decolonial perspective, they particularly focus on the condition of subaltern groups. Kamissa Ma Koïta’s work in performance has been presented at Skol (2017), La Centrale (2017), Dare-Dare (2018) and Galerie de l’UQAM (2018). Their work has also been on view in a number of other venues, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2018) and Centre Never Apart (2019).
Episode 8 - Ifeoma Anyaeji
Ifeoma Anyaeji shares with us the significance of her Nigerian Igbo roots to her artistic practice. She speaks about a traditional West African hairstyling technique, common in Nigeria, known as threading, which she uses to create sculptures made up of non-biodegradable plastic bags and bottles—what she calls Plasto-Art. Anyaeji’s powerful thoughts on plastic spark consideration of how solutions can be found to the problem of its disposal.
Ifeoma U. Anyaeji is a neo-traditional Nigerian artist whose experimental approach to repurposing the discarded and documenting socio-cultural experiences, while commenting on modernity’s value-utility orientation and its environmental effects, follows a non-conventional process. Engaging in an eco-aesthetic practice she developed and calls “Plasto-Art,” Anyaeji intuitively transforms her primary medium—used non-biodegradable plastic bags—through her skills in an age-old Nigerian hair-plaiting technique called Ikpa isi owu or “African Hair Threading.” Anyaeji demonstrates persistent mastery of Plasto-Art by using this craft-art process to harmonize her medium with reiterations of her traditional Igbo experiences, eliminating predictable expectations, and spontaneously creating conceptual yet organic sculptures and installations. Rhythmically infused with metaphors, these reference architectural and domestic structures as well as include discourses on the body, colonial adaptation, authenticity, and newness. Anyaeji has had various exhibitions of her work in Africa, Europe and North America and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree.
Trajectories provides an opportunity to find out how each artist’s journey has contributed to their creative process. Our guests’ practices connect with the social issues of today as well as thinking in the international art scene. All the conversations open with artists revealing what artwork or experience at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has had an impact on them. And it is from this starting point that we begin our trajectory through the world of each of our guests.
Mojeanne Behzadi is a curator and poet based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. She currently runs Art Speaks, an international lecture series on contemporary art, and is Curator, Research and Programming at Artexte. The holder of an MA in Art History from Concordia University, she has worked as a curatorial assistant in contemporary art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and, for the Papier art fair, as an educational programming coordinator at the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC). She regularly writes for a number of arts organizations, including BlackFlash Magazine, ELLEPHANT, the Phi Foundation and Centre CLARK. Her recent curatorial research has focused on the theme of love as a radical tool for resistance, mobilization and social transformation.
Photo credit: Christopher Honeywell
Recording: Studio Cagibi
Mixing and mastering: Studio Cagibi
Music: Guillaume Coutu-Dumont
Direction and production: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Partner: Conseil des arts de Montréal